KENNESAW, Ga. - The Mississippi State volleyball team began the Kennesaw State Invitational with a 3-2 victory over Western Michigan on Friday in the KSU Convocation Center.
With the win, the Bulldogs move to 5-1 and break Western Michigan's undefeated season as the Broncos now sit at 7-1.
State claimed the first two sets, 25-17 and 25-18, but Western Michigan forced a deciding fifth set after taking set three 25-22 and set four 25-20. The Bulldogs went on to win the match with a 15-12 fifth set.
"What a gritty win for the Bulldogs," head coach Julie Darty Dennis said. "Super proud of how hard we fought in that fifth set to claim a win against a talented Western Michigan team. We played some of the cleanest volleyball we have played all season in sets one and two, but we let up for a little while. We then had to make a choice to come back and battle in the fifth set. I'm extremely proud of this team for working hard and gutting out a win."
Sophie Agee had a stellar match, claiming a double-double with a team-leading 21 kills - on a .315 hitting clip - and 21 digs while adding two blocks. The 21 kills and 21 digs were also a career-high for Agee.
"Sophie had a huge night, and it was fun to watch her step up in big moments," Dennis said.
Karli Schmidt tallied 15 kills and two blocks during the five-set match. Schmidt has registered 10-plus kills in every match for the Bulldogs this season. Amina Shackelford came away with seven kills, three digs and led State with four blocks.
Middle blocker Zoe Gonzales posted five kills on a .714 hitting percentage and added two blocks. Caylee Sharkey and Rebecca Walk joined Gonzales with five kills. Walk added two blocks, and Sharkey claimed a block.
Lauren Myrick donned the libero jersey proud and reeled in 21 digs. She has captured 20-plus digs in four matches on the young season. Freshman Mary Neal reeled in 14 digs, which is the most she has claimed in her young career.
Mississippi State's setting tandem of Alexa Fortin Goede and Emily Oerther combined for 49 assists and 15 digs. Goede corralled a double-double with a season-high 24 assists and 10 digs. For Goede, it marks her first double-double of the season. Oerther distributed a season-high 25 assists and added five digs.
The Bulldogs take on host Kennesaw State on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT and will then close out the Kennesaw State Invitational against Wake Forest on Sunday at 2 p.m.